Sustained local economic growth and reforms enabled the province of Davao del Norte to achieve the second best performing province in reducing poverty in Mindanao.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the number of poor Dabaonons has declined in 2018, as the poverty incidence among families in the province decreased from 27.2% in 2015 to 14.5% in 2018.
With a per capita poverty threshold of P12,720, the 12.7 percentage points drop from three years ago allowed Davao del Norte to become the top 26 performing province in poverty alleviation in 2018, among the 81 provinces in the country.
Based on the 2018 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) results, Davao del Norte ranked second among the Mindanao provinces, next to Davao del Sur, which has a poverty incidence of 10.7% and per capita poverty threshold of 12,968.
Among the other provinces in the Davao Region, Compostela Valley achieved a poverty incidence of 25.8%, while Davao Oriental has 32.6% and Davao Occidental has 36.7%.
Poverty incidence is defined as the proportion of families whose income is below the poverty threshold or poverty line to the total number of families.
It is estimated that Davao del Norte has an annual per capita poverty threshold of P10,600, which is essential to meet both basic food and non-food needs for a family of five within a month to be considered out of poverty.
In a special edition of Kapihan sa Kapitolyo, PSA-XI Regional Director Ruben D. Abaro Jr. said the rising purchasing power of consumers may have triggered the increase in the annual per capita poverty threshold of the province.
Having the relative capacity to buy, Abaro observed that the Dabaonons showed preferences for higher-priced but better quality goods, which consequently pushed higher the minimum level of income that is deemed adequate in the province.
He also noted that the significant decline in the number of poor families in Davao del Norte reflect the local government units’ improved delivery of basic services to the people.
“This means that the provincial government is still doing well in addressing or providing the basic needs of the populace,” he said.
The local government’s efforts in beefing up human development complements its advance in speeding up economic growth of the province, which now boasts as the Most Competitive Province in Mindanao, as well as the Third Most Competitive Province in the Philippines in 2018.
The rising standard of living in the province is now felt by the ordinary folks.
Fish vendor Virginia Mante from Barangay Busaon, Tagum City, said she now enjoys greater prosperity compared to the previous years.
“Akong kinabuhi sa una guot jud, ilabi na kay wala koy kapikas sa kinabuhi, kami lang ug ang mga bata. Karon, luag-luag na kay ang mga bata naa na sila’y mga trabaho (we faced hardship in the past since I am a single mom. Now, we are more at ease, especially that my children are now employed),” she beamed.